The Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Musa Nuhu, has emphasized the difficulties Nigerian airlines confront in making a profit.
The Times reported that these difficulties result from the challenging operational environment, which is characterized by difficult financial availability.
Nuhu highlighted the joint efforts of his agency and the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development in supporting airlines when he spoke to the media in Abuja over the weekend.
Some of these airlines, he said, are currently experiencing financial difficulties.
He stated, “The context in which Nigerian airlines operate is really challenging. An airline cannot function independently from the economy it operates in, and the Nigerian economy is experiencing particularly challenging circumstances. The financing fee is 25%, a whooping percentage to start with.
“You take out a loan and provide the bank 25% of your earnings. You are not discussing your costs, expenses, or short- and long-term responsibilities.
“A few of them are having financial problems, while others are doing fine. Thus, things are as they are. The situation facing the airlines is quite challenging, and we really feel for them. We will work to find any flexibility we can to ease their burdens.
The NCAA president refuted, however, allegations made in some quarters that the Ministry of Aviation was meddling in its business in a way that reduced its regulatory authority.
In addition, Nuhu said that compared to their competitors in other countries, Nigerian airlines pay excessive insurance prices.
Regarding claims of Ministry of Aviation involvement, Nuhu reaffirmed that the NCAA continues to function independently and makes critical safety decisions to maintain the integrity of Nigeria’s airspace.
He emphasized that the NCAA is a government organization that carries out government directives.
He stated: “As DG NCAA, I have never witnessed the minister interfering in the business of the NCAA. I am unable to comment on events that occurred before me, and we must establish and comprehend the NCAA’s autonomy.
“NCAA is a government organization; it is impossible for NCAA to function without government. The NCAA’s regulatory functions, including our safety regulatory function, are where we exercise our autonomy.
However, there are additional governmental rules, financial rules, and all that, the NCAA must comply with. The NCAA cannot exist on its own and we say nobody in the government talks to us.
“Such a civil aviation authority does not exist. However, when we take safety measures, such as grounding airline X, someone will step in and suggest that we should go back on our decision. Such interference with the regulatory function never occurs.”